Dan Neil.

'A total joy to watch': Phil Smith's player ratings as Sunderland start Papa John's Trophy defence with win at Lincoln

Sunderland made a winning start to their defence of the Papa John’s Trophy – and there were some impressive performances as Lee Johnson’s youthful side won at Lincoln.

Tuesday, 5th October 2021, 9:22 pm

The Black Cats boss made ten changes to his starting XI following Saturday’s defeat at Portsmouth, with promotion from League One clearly the priority this season.

In a squad which had a mixture of first-team and under-23 players, Denver Hume made his first competitive start of the season after recovering from a hamstring injury, while Dan Neil captained the side.

Under-23s players Kenton Richardson, Oliver Younger, Ellis Taylor, Harrison Sonha and Will Harris got a chance to impress.

Goals from Neil and substitute Stephen Wearne saw the Cats claim all three points in Northern Group F, ahead of a meeting with Manchester United Under-21s at the Stadium of Light next week.

Our chief SAFC writer Phil Smith has delivered his verdict on how each Black Cats player fared at the LNER Stadium.

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